Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko has said that Russia will beef up its military presence in its northwestern territory in response to Finland joining NATO.
Finland’s ascension into NATO will more than double the alliance’s territory on the Russian border. The Russian-Finnish border is about 810 miles long and will now become more militarized.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced last year that Moscow would deploy more forces near the Finnish border. Grushko said further steps depend on whether or not other NATO countries send military assets to Finland.
“We will strengthen our military potential in the western and northwestern direction. In the event that the forces and resources of other NATO members are deployed in Finland, we will take additional steps to reliably ensure Russia’s military security,” Grushko said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that Finland will formally become the 31st member of the Western military alliance on Tuesday during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
The ascension will come just two days after Finnish Prime Minster Sanna Marin lost an election to the center-right National Coalition Party, which is now tasked with forming a government that will likely be led by the party’s leader, Petteri Orpo. According to AP, the National Coalition Party has advocated for NATO membership for two decades.